Police must take “suo motu” action against errant builders: Bombay HC


The Bombay high court on Monday said that the police on their own must take action against builders for illegal constructions instead of waiting for someone to come forward to lodge a complaint.
“Are the police so helpless when they notice a cognizable offence?” asked a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka, while hearing a public interest litigation regarding a large number of illegal constructions in Digha village in Navi Mumbai.

On October 12, the state government had told the court it is considering framing a policy to regularize them.

The court had also said the police must initiate criminal action against the concerned builders. A senior police official from the Navi Mumbai commissionerate was present, following a summons from the court.

The bench reacted after reading a note submitted by the government’s advocate which stated that the police has requested City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) to lodge a formal complaint in the matter. “You want an aggrieved party to approach the police? Without this, you are helpless? Is there nothing like suo motu action?” asked Justice Oka.

The government’s advocate also informed that two first information reports have been filed against six builders and two agents. “If you register offence, money of flat purchasers can be recovered,” said Justice Oka. The matter is posted for further hearing on October 21, seeking police’s response in a case where the documents were forged.

The bench said the undertaking given by flat-owners of Pandurang Apartments, one of the many illegal buildings, to voluntarily vacate the building is vague and asked them to file a proper one. It also said it is giving them ample time till December 30 to vacate. “Don’t wait till the government brings out a policy to regularize the buildings,” said Justice Oka.

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